Every year in the MLB offseason, many major leaguers past, present, and future go down to the Caribbean to play in a number of winter leagues. There aren’t a ton of stars, meaning the rosters are filled with people that make you say “oh yeah, that guy.” Many of those people you’ve forgotten about are undoubtedly former Yankees, so let’s check in on how they’re doing down in the Caribbean.
We’ll start in the Dominican Republic with the Gigantes del Cibao, where a recently relevant Yankee has gotten some playing time. After missing all of the 2019 MLB season, Greg Bird turn up in the DR, and well...
Bird has played in seven games for the Gigantes, and has gone 3-for-24 with no extra-base hits. On the pitching side of that team is brief Yankee Jose Ramirez and also 2019 teammate Adonis Rosa. Considering that Bird’s last Yankee game last year was in April, and Rosa’s lone appearance came in August, there’s a non-zero chance neither of them realize they were, technically, teammates in 2019.
On the Aguilas Cibenas is the most random set of former Yankees who are now teammates. One-game wonder Brady Lail is on the same team as Cesar Cabral, who is most famous for getting ejected seemingly for safety reasons after hitting three Rays in a row in 2014. It may not come as a surprise that, even though he’s only thrown 2.1 innings, he has hit a batter.
Nestor Cortes Jr. is playing for the Estrellas de Oriente and somehow having a worse time than he did with the Yankees. Cortes has faced 24 batters, and allowed a hit or walk to literally half of them. He has a 13.50 ERA.
In Mexico, there is a group of former Yankees on the Tomateros de Culiacan. Manny Banuelos, Ramiro Pena, and Rico Noel are all there, and the guy doing the best of any of them is arguably the guy whose only job was running. Noel has a not great, but better than Pena, .767 OPS, while also stealing 29 bases in 30 games. Elsewhere in Mexico, Vidal Nuno is apparently now going by Vidal Nuno III, and he has a sub-3.00 ERA in over 30 innings.
There’s just one former Yankee of note in Puerto Rico, and that’s Jonathan Albaladejo. He’s put up a 6.59 ERA in 13.2 innings for the Indios de Mayaguez.
There’s also not much to note in Venezuela, but Alberto Gonzalez is there. You may not remember him as he was one of the cavalcade of infielders the 2013 Yankees threw at the wall to see if anything stuck. Considering that he went 6-for-34 and is arguably more famous for having to pitch a game that season, if you don’t remember him, you didn’t miss much.
As for how he’s doing in Venezuela, he has a .389 OBP. He’s drawn 17 walks compared to just eight strikeouts. Not bad. Meanwhile, his OPS with the Yankees back in 2013 was .382, so it’s safe to say he’s found his level.